The City of Calgary approved a $60 million budget cut to emergency services, transit services, affordable housing, among others, late Tuesday night. This is expected to result in 115 job losses of municipal employees, according to the Calgary Herald.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Tuesday night that there are 230 positions but some people will still lose their jobs. “We can move things around in terms of vacancies, in terms of pending retirements and so on, but you are still going to see some hundred persons lose their positions,” he said.
Council voted 13-1 in favour of the package of cuts, with only councillor opposing – Druh Ferral. Councillor Ray Jones was absent.
Ferral told CBC News that he can’t support the decision for budget cuts, considering the new arena discussion council had on Monday, because "it feels cruel." He said, "115 good people are going to lose their jobs".
This all started when council faced an uproar in June from small business owners facing tax hikes since 2015, outside the downtown core. It was a result of property values decreasing in downtown. Council elected to make cuts from municipal budget last week to resolve this issue.
Nenshi said Tuesday night that city council had options to deal with the small business tax shift but many of those options wouldn’t have helped as much as the budget cuts, according to Global News.
“Council had many, many options to deal with this small business tax shift. Many of those options would have helped the small businesses to a very similar extent that we’re helping them without requiring mid-year tax cuts. We can’t do this again,” he said.
In a news release on Tuesday, chief financial officer, Carla Male, said the City is constantly trying to improve the value and affordability of City services. Further budget cuts could follow in the future.
"In addition to realizing the $60 million, and the savings we committed to last November, we will continue to work with Council to determine what further reductions are needed for 2020 and beyond to continue to support Calgary’s economic recovery," reads the release.
The details of the budget cuts can be found on the City of Calgary's website, along with the meeting agenda.